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ON EDGE opens at Science Gallery London

ON EDGE 430x275
(Credit Sarah Howe, Consider Falling, 2018)

A new exhibition and events season at Science Gallery London combines art, design, psychology and neuroscience to highlight positive and creative responses when dealing with anxiety. The season runs from 19th September 2019 to 19th January 2020.

Drawing on research from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), ON EDGE: Living in an Age of Anxiety reflects the perspectives of a range of artists, scientists, young people and those with lived experience of anxiety. The free exhibition includes many new commissions developed by artists working in collaboration with researchers from King’s.

‘King’s College London is home to outstanding mental health research, including on the causes and effects of anxiety,’ said Professor Thalia Eley, Professor of Developmental Behavioural Genetics at IoPPN, and ON EDGE Season Advisor. ‘This season brings new perspectives to a phenomenon that affects so many of us. ON EDGE invites visitors to reflect on their own wellbeing in a wider context.’

‘The exhibition takes as its starting point that we all experience anxiety at some point in our lives,’ said curator-producer Mette Kjærgaard Præst. ‘We aim to open up a critical conversation about the causes of and responses to anxiety in contemporary society. ON EDGE makes visible the possible connections between individual experiences and the wider societal conditions that frame them.’

ON EDGE foregrounds the varied ways that people live with anxiety. Many of the featured artists draw on their own experiences to consider how individuals experience anxiety and develop creative coping mechanisms. Some of the artistic/academic collaborations will explore the relationship between sleep and anxiety; how we can destigmatise sensitive conversations around mental health; and what the emotional state of anxiety might look like if portrayed using sound and light.

‘Anxiety can be triggered by different things such as public speaking, meeting new people, spiders or health concerns. For some people anxiety interferes with their life, and at King’s we have found that specific thinking habits have an important role in maintaining anxiety’ said Dr Colette Hirsch, Reader in Cognitive Clinical Psychology at IoPPN and ON EDGE Season Advisor. ‘We hope the exhibition, informed by our research findings, will increase visitors’ understanding of living with anxiety.’

The season also considers how our noisy, interconnected and uncertain world affects our wellbeing on a collective level. ON EDGE features work that explores broader social questions around experiencing and addressing anxiety. Examples include collaborations considering the complex ways that our urban environment affects our individual psychological state; the emotional role of anxiety in society; and how we study, measure and support mental health conditions.

‘Across King’s College London, researchers are developing new and imaginative thinking on the issues that really matter,’ said Deborah Bull, Vice President & Vice-Principal (London) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture at King’s College London. ‘At Science Gallery London, we bring scientists together with artists to provoke new perspectives on some of the world’s greatest challenges and connect in innovative ways between the university and communities across London and beyond.’

Throughout the season, Science Gallery London will host a discursive space for visitors to think about the ways we react to and experience anxiety. This will be designed by Resolve Collective and the Gallery’s Young Leaders, a group of 15-25-year olds who live, work or study at King’s or in the neighbouring boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth.

A programme of free events, including talks, workshops and Friday Lates will continue the conversation around anxiety in contemporary society.

John O’Shea, Head of Programming at Science Gallery London, said: ‘We hope that visitors to the exhibition will be engaged by the questions posed, and, through the creative strategies of the artists, feel empowered to have bold discussions about the experience of anxiety within contemporary society.’



For any further information please contact: Katie Barron, Communications Officer, Science Gallery London, / +44(0) 20 7848 6097 

Katie Barron, Communications Officer, Science Gallery London

 +44(0) 20 7848 6097